The upcoming midterm elections will be the most expensive in U.S. history, with $1 billion in TV ads already booked or aired.
With the Republicans holding narrow majorities in both the Senate and the House of Representatives, the parties are locked in close combat, three months ahead of Election Day.
“This is President Donald Trump’s first re-elect,” former White House strategist Steve Bannon told Fox News host Sean Hannity on Friday. “This is gonna be an up or down vote. It’s a referendum on the Trump presidency.”
At least $170 million has been spent on television spots for Senate primaries, The Hill reported Saturday. Democrats and the GOP have reserved $230 million worth of ads in states like Nevada, where GOP Sen. Dean Heller could lose his seat to a Democratic challenger, and Missouri, where Sen. Claire McCaskill, a Democrat, is trying to hold on to constituents who voted for President Trump by a 19-point margin.
With a solid chance of winning back the House in November, Democrats have committed $135 million in ads for the party’s candidates, while the defending Republicans plan to spend at least $146 million.
Heated primary fights in states like California drove up spending on gubernatorial races, with $250 million already spent on media buys. At least $90 million worth of ads have been booked for governors’ races in the coming weeks.
All told, that’s a staggering $1.02 billion on TV advertising alone. Add in costs for staff, polling, field offices and fund-raising, says the Center for Responsive Politics, and the total spent on the major races this cycle balloons to $1.6 billion.
Currently, the GOP has a large funding advantage over the Democratic Party.
And President Trump says he will fork over plenty of political capital to help Republicans hold on to Congress.